Vito is Associate Professor in the Department of Global Development and Planning, University of Agder, Norway. In Agder, he leads the Sustainability, Digitalisation and Communication focus area at the Centre for Digital Transformation (CeDiT), and is a member of the university's Battery Coast initiative. He is Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation, University of Johannesburg.
He is currently work package leader in the Horizon Europe project ReMeD - Resilient Media for Democracy in the Digital Age (2023-2026).
He is a co-editor of the Journal of Contemporary African Studies, and a member of the international editorial board of HUMA - The Institute for Humanities in Africa at the University of Cape Town. He was the founder and chief editor of the public engagement blog Corona Times, a HUMA project, and is currently the chief editor of the science communication blog Democracy in Action, a project of the University of Agder.
He received a BSc in Employment Relations & Human Resource Management from LSE, and an MPhil in Social Anthropological Research and a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge.
Vito is an anthropologist, development scholar and political analyst with an interdisciplinary orientation spanning three main areas: 1) political economy & ecology; 2) digitalisation, new media and communication; and 3) critical higher education studies. His work focuses on: higher education; digital technologies; political communication; local, regional and global sustainable development and green transitions; labour and organisations; socio-economic inequalities; and social and political mobilisation.
His approach is characterised by a systemic integration of ethnography, macro-level structural analysis, and epistemological & reflexive inquiry, in the tradition of “big ideas” social science and social theory.
His early career was characterised by a specialism in southern and central Africa, which over the years has grown into a sustained comparison between Africa and the West. Vito has carried out field research in South Africa, Eswatini, UK, Norway and Italy.
Vito has published widely in leading international journals such as The Journal of Development Studies; The Extractive Industries and Society; Review of African Political Economy;Technology, Pedagogy and Education; and Anthropology Today, and academic presses such as Cambridge University Press; Routledge; and Berghahn.
He held research and teaching positions at the University of Cambridge, University of Oslo, University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria, University of Mauritius, Bristol UWE, and University of Worcester (UK).
Vito's work has been funded by Horizon Europe, the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), Jisc (UK), the National Institute of Health Research (UK), the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (US), the Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, the National Research Foundation (South Africa), the Tertiary Education Commission (Mauritius), the SAHEE Foundation (Switzerland) and the Cambridge Newton Trust.
His doctoral research in Cambridge (2005-2011) was an ethnography of timber workers in the Kingdom of Eswatini. He studied in a former asbestos mining town, redeveloped as a social enterprise by white southern African and North American Pentecostal Christian missionaries. For-profit economic activities in the forestry industry were carried out in tandem with orphan care services. The study was extended to the adjacent rural community. Vito developed a grounded approach to foreign investment and donor aid that takes into account labour relations and company’s interactions with local communities, and brings together political economy, political ecology and phenomenological anthropology.
His current work comprises several streams:
1) Political communication and new forms of social and political mobilisation in Africa and the West, including spontaneous protests, right-wing populism, digital democracy, and environmental activism.
2) Justice, transparency and geopolitics in global lithium-ion battery value chains: socio-economic and socio-environmental inequalities at multiple scales.
3) The political economy of African development and underdevelopment from a North-South perspective, with a focus on: race, class and capital; land, labour and migration; and enclave development.
4) Socio-economic inequalities, economic development, digitalisation and organisational change in higher education in Africa and the Nordic countries.
5) The role of academic knowledge production and engaged scholarship in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Vito worked with local governments, NGOs, trade unions, social movements, and community organisations in Norway, Europe and southern Africa on issues of digital communications, labour, socio-economic development, organisational change and green economy.
He writes regularly for national and international media, such as Al Jazeera English, Boston Review, Foreign Affairs, Africa Is A Country, and Daily Maverick. He has been a guest speaker on South African national radio for SAfm, Cape Talk, Radio 702, and Voice of the Cape. In Norway, he has been interviewed by Dagens Næringsliv, and wrote for Fædrelandsvennen.
SPECIAL ISSUES & SECTIONS:
Laterza, V., Tømte, C.E. and Pinheiro, R.M. eds. (2020) Digital transformations with “Nordic characteristics”? Latest trends in the digitalisation of teaching and learning in Nordic higher education. Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy, 15(4).
Laterza, V., Sharp, J. and Beresford, A. eds. (2017) Extraction and Beyond: People’s Economic Responses to Restructuring in Southern and Central Africa. Review of African Political Economy, 44(152).
Larmer, M. and Laterza, V. eds. (2017) Contested Wealth: Social and Political Mobilisation in Extractive Communities in Africa. The Extractive Industries and Society, 4(4).
Sharp, J., Powers, T. and Laterza, V. eds. (2013) The Human Economy Project: First Steps. Anthropology Southern Africa, 36(3&4).
ARTICLES, CHAPTERS AND REPORTS:
Laterza, V. (2021) 'Human-technology relations in an age of surveillance capitalism: Towards an anthropological theory of the dialectic between analogue and digital humanity'. EtnoAntropologia, 9(2): 59-74.
Laterza, V. (2021) '(Re)creating "society in silico": surveillance capitalism, simulations and subjectivity in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal'. Partecipazione e Conflitto, 14(2): 954-974.
Laterza, V. (2021) 'Could Cambridge Analytica have delivered Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential victory? An anthropologist’s look at big data and political campaigning'. Public Anthropologist, 3(1): 119-147.
Laterza, V., Tømte, C.E. and Pinheiro, R.M. (2020) 'Digital transformations with “Nordic characteristics”? Latest trends in the digitalisation of teaching and learning in Nordic higher education'. Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy, 15(4): 225-233.
Tømte, C.E., Laterza, V., Pinheiro, R.M. and Avramovic, A. (2020) 'Is there a Scandinavian model for MOOCs? Understanding the MOOC phenomenon in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden'. Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy, 15(4): 234-245.
Laterza, V. (2018) ‘Cambridge Analytica, independent research and the national interest’. Anthropology Today, 34(3): 1-2.
Laterza, V. and Sharp, J. (2017) 'Extraction and beyond: People’s economic responses to restructuring in southern and central Africa'. Review of African Political Economy, 44(152): 173-188.
Larmer, M. and Laterza, V. (2017) 'Contested wealth: Social and political mobilisation in extractive communities in Africa'. The Extractive Industries and Society, 4(4): 701-706.
Laterza, V. (2017) 'African social sciences and the study of the economy: Building an independent pan-African infrastructure'. CODESRIA Bulletin, 2017(1&2): 27-28.
Laterza, V. (2017) 'Resilient labour: Workplace regimes, globalisation and enclave development in Swaziland'. In: Kate Meagher, Laura Mann and Maxim Bolt (eds) Globalisation, Economic Inclusion and African Workers: making the right connections. London: Routledge.
Laterza, V. (2016) 'Resilient labour: Workplace regimes, globalisation and enclave development in Swaziland'. Journal of Development Studies, 52(4): 576-590.
Laterza, V., Evans, D., Davies, R., Donald, C. and Rice, C. (2016) ‘What’s in a “research passport”? A collaborative autoethnography of institutional approvals in public involvement in research’. Research Involvement and Engagement, 2(24).
Laterza, V. (2015) 'Waves of unrest: Wildcat strikes and possible democratic change in Swaziland'. In: Keith Hart (ed.) Economy For and Against Democracy. Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books, pp. 137-158.
Laterza, V. (2015) ‘Entangled in/equalities in African societies: A response to Harri Englund's Human Rights and African Airwaves’. Suomen Antropologi, 40(1): 66-69.
Sharp, J., Hart, K. and Laterza, V. (2014) 'South Africa in world development: Prospects for a human economy'. Anthropology Today, 30(6): 13-17.
Forrester, B. and Laterza, V. (2014) Development in Swaziland: Myths and Realities. Pretoria: sahee Foundation.
Evans, D., Coad, J., Cottrell, K., Dalrymple, J., Davies, R., Donald, C., Laterza, V., Long, A., Longley, A., Moule, P., Pollard, K., Powell, J., Puddicombe, A., Rice, C. and Sayers, R. (2014) 'Public involvement in research: Assessing impact through a realist evaluation'. Health Services and Delivery Research, 2(36).
Laterza, V. (2014) ‘Tra stato, mercato e società: La crisi italiana e l’economia umana [Between state, market and society: The italian crisis and the human economy]’. Critica Liberale, 21(221): 149-152.
Laterza, V., Forrester, B. and Mususa, P. (2013) 'Bringing wood to life: Lines, flows and materials in a Swazi sawmill'. In: Tim Ingold and Gísli Pálsson (eds) Biosocial Becomings: Integrating Social and Biological Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.162-190.
Laterza, V. (2013) ‘Some notes towards a human economy approach’. Anthropology Southern Africa, 36(3&4): 135-138.
Sharp, J., Powers, T. and Laterza, V. (2013) ‘The human economy project: First steps’. Anthropology Southern Africa, 36(3&4): 99-101.
Procter, R., Carmichael, P. and Laterza, V. (2008) ‘Co-interpretation of usage data: A mixed-methods approach to the evaluation of online environments’. International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, 2(1): 44-56.
Laterza. V. (2007) 'The ethnographic novel: Another literary skeleton in the anthropological closet?'. Suomen Antropologi, 32(2): 124-134.
Laterza, V., Carmichael, P., and Procter, R. (2007) 'The doubtful guest? A virtual research environment for education'. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 16(3): 249-267.
Carmichael, P., Procter, R., Laterza, V. and Rimpilainen, S. (2006) 'Sakai: A virtual research environment for education'. Research Intelligence, 96(August): 18-19.
OTHER ACADEMIC PUBLICATIONS:
Laterza, V. and Römer, L.P. (2020) 'COVID-19, the freedom to die, and the necropolitics of the market'. Somatosphere, 12 May.
Laterza, V. (2015) ‘From production to distribution: The politics of dependence and the emerging welfare state in Southern Africa [book review of Ferguson, J. 2015 Give a Man a Fish: Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution, Duke University Press]’. Anthropology Book Forum, 10 May.
Laterza, V. (2011) ‘Swaziland: Cultural expression, daily life, economy [encyclopedia entry]’. In: World and Its Peoples – Sub-Saharan Africa, Australasia, and the Pacific Vol. 7 Southern Africa. Tarrytown, New York: Marshall Cavendish Corporation.
Laterza, V. (2011) ‘South Africa: Economy [encyclopedia entry]’. In: World and Its Peoples – Sub-Saharan Africa, Australasia, and the Pacific Vol. 7 Southern Africa. Tarrytown, New York: Marshall Cavendish Corporation.
COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS:
Can eSwatini's monarchy recover from the ongoing crisis? (Al Jazeera English, 07/08/2021)
Is this the end of the road for the King [of eSwatini]? (The Nation eSwatini, August 2021)
Technocracy is back in Italy – but with a different agenda (Al Jazeera English, 19/02/2021)
With the support of the left, Biden can deliver progressive gains (Al Jazeera English, 21/11/2020; republished in Daily Maverick) [with Louis Philippe Römer]
The rushed easing of lockdown measures could devastate Italy (Al Jazeera English, 29/05/2020)
Coronavirus, herd immunity and the eugenics of the market (Al Jazeera English, 14/04/2020; republished in Daily Maverick) [with Louis Philippe Römer]
Can Italy's Salvini be defeated? (Al Jazeera English, 04/09/2019; republished in Daily Maverick)
Is China really to blame for Zambia's debt problems? (Al Jazeera English, 11/10/2018) [with Patience Mususa]
Italy: the new anti-migrant national consensus (Africa Is A Country, 13/07/2018; republished in Daily Maverick)
Italy's dystopian social contract is born (Daily Maverick, 24/05/2018)
The populism and dystopia of Italy's new government (Al Jazeera English, 22/05/2018)
Cambridge Analytica, African elections and Western double standards (Inside Education, 28/03/2018)
Neoliberalism, big capital and the Zambian crisis (Al Jazeera English, 16/06/2017)
We are all Helen Zille. Or, why the West thinks that colonialism was not all bad (Africa Is A Country, 16/03/2017)
The Italian referendum and the crisis of the left (Wildcat Dispatches, 08/12/2016)
The myth of Donald Trump's white working-class support (Africa Is A Country, 17/11/2016) [with Louis Philippe Römer]
How did the main parties do in the 2016 South African municipal elections? ANC, DA and EFF in numbers (Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, 23/08/2016) [with Stephan van Wyk]
Zambia: democratic victory or vote snatching? (Al Jazeera English, 17/08/2016)
Bernie Sanders' new task is to convince his supporters to back Hillary Clinton (The Independent, 20/06/2016)
Can the Sanders campaign build a progressive alternative to the US establishment? (Truthout, 20/06/2016)
The future of the Sanders campaign: grassroots democracy beyond social media and mass rallies (Daily Maverick, 01/06/2016)
Democracy after Sanders: building a progressive alternative, beyond social media and mass rallies (openDemocracy, 26/05/2016)
What future for South African Democracy? (Boston Review, 05/01/2016) [with Ayanda Manqoyi]
Finland: basic income experiment – what we know (Basic Income News, 09/12/2015)
Government oversight of university transformation should not be taboo (Daily Maverick, 19/11/2015)
Looking for leaders: student protests and the future of South African democracy (Daily Maverick, 06/11/2015) [with Ayanda Manqoyi]
The student uprisings in South Africa (Africa Is A Country, 21/10/2015)
Detroit activist Grace Lee Boggs dies at 100, she endorsed city-level universal basic income (Basic Income News, 18/10/2015)
Greek elections: winners and losers in numbers (Analyze Greece!, 23/09/2015)
Greece: government to roll out a Guaranteed Minimum Income scheme (Basic Income News, 22/08/2015)
What will happen if Greeks vote 'oxi' in Sunday's referendum? (Ricochet, 03/07/2015; republished by Analyze Greece!, 05/07/2015)
Zambia's uncertain future: political rifts and economic challenges in Lusaka (Foreign Affairs, 04/03/2015) [with Patience Mususa]
Swaziland: liberal democracy and its discontents (Al Jazeera English, 12/10/2013)
Italy's new government and the perpetuation of minority rule (Al Jazeera English, 03/05/2013)
The Iron Lady is gone, but Thatcherism is alive and well (GlobalPost, 21/04/2013)
Berlusconi's new prominence casts shadows over Italy's future (GlobalPost, 02/04/2013)
Technocracy's new bet: Mario Monti runs for premiership (Al Jazeera English, 04/01/2013)
Innocence of Muslims: how fiction creates reality (Al Jazeera English, 19/09/2012)
Lost opportunity for Zambian democracy (Mail & Guardian, 05/11/2008)
Sist endret: 15.02.2023 00:02